Brief and Design
Founded in 2001, Cornwall College Group are a leading educational provider in the South West, with more than 15,000 learners through their doors each year. With the current COVID situation, the College weren’t able to provide their usual calendar of welcome events. We were contacted by the college’s marketing manager Sarah Towan to help record and broadcast a series of celebratory music sessions streamed out across all of CCG’s social media platforms.
We decided after speaking with Sarah that the best format for this project would be a series of ‘live to tape’ shows by a selection of local bands. This approach would allow us to present a product with high production values, whilst keeping a the energy of a true live performance. One interesting nuance of this project was the tight timescale. In order to fit in with the College’s ongoing social media campaign, we wouldn’t be able to spend weeks polishing a pre-recorded show in post production. Instead, we would have to present the recorded show as if it were going out live to air. This tight turnaround meant that the recording sessions were treated more like a traditional live show, with audio and video mixing being recorded ‘on the fly’.
Recording and Delivery
Using one of the College’s existing performance venues at their Falmouth site, we set up a stage in much the same way that we would for a live show. We used a selection of static and moving head washes to provide colour on stage, along with traditional halogen front light for the cameras, and a number of ‘eye candy’ fixtures to expand our palette of available looks. Our video recording setup followed suit, with a number of static and robotic PTZ cameras used to reduce the number of people inside the space. We expanded our lighting offering by also deploying sections of our InfiLED LED screen to the upstage area, meaning that in addition to using traditional lighting techniques to create looks, we could also incorporate custom video content playback into each band’s live set.
On the audio side, we brought our usual wide selection of high quality microphones by the likes of Neumann, DPA, Shure and Sennheiser. The ‘live to tape’ element of this project could have presented us a challenge – how to achieve a high quality recording and mixdown without the benefit of any additional time in post production? The answer came in the form of a dLive console by Allen and Heath. The dLive features excellent preamplifiers to start, along with formidable live mixing capabilities. Simultaneously, the dLive features digital emulations of a number of classic pieces of studio outboard, which we made liberal use of in this project. One console provided both in-room monitoring for performers and crew, plus studio quality tools for simultaneous live mixdown.
The feedback from bands and college staff alike has been excellent. Bands were pleased to be provided an experience very close to a traditional live show (sans audience, of course!), with high quality equipment and staffing which allowed them to focus on nailing their performances. College Group staff were pleased to still have ‘live’ events happening on site, and the College’s social media campaign continues unabated. However, this time, you don’t have to just take our word for it – check out the College’s YouTube channel here, or scroll down for a sneak peek at our work!